Carlson is teaching the wrong business ethics by covering for the “Toepener” students’ behavior

by Taqee Khaled

IâÄôm not sure how to process the front-page story of the July 13 Daily, “Smooth sailing, then controversy,” regarding student start-up “ToepenerâÄôs” unethical business research and development practices.

By all appearances, it seems to be a story about some unethical students and the Carlson School of ManagementâÄôs efforts to cover for them in order to tout their accomplishments once the controversy has blown over.

IâÄôm not sure what is more disconcerting, the blasé attitude of the Carlson School with funding and promoting a new generation of unethical business minds, or the DailyâÄôs description of this as a mere learning experience, without stronger commentary.

ItâÄôs fairly obvious what these students did: They used a false cover to lie to a legitimate corporation, duping them into sharing information in good faith, and used that information to their advantage in the industry. Then, when they were called out on their methods, they raised their palms and said, “Who, me?”

Whatever lets you sleep at night, guys.

Most discerning readers know their approach was deceptive, unethical and, if not for hiding behind the Carlson SchoolâÄôs skirt, potentially criminal.

But one should expect more from the Carlson. It looks like theyâÄôd like to place the kids on a brochure at some point in the future after everyone has forgotten about the “ToepenerâÄôs” controversy, so theyâÄôre engaging in their own brand of “ethics” re-education as well.

I guess it shouldnâÄôt come as a surprise when Carlson School students run their businesses unethically and refuse to admit wrongdoing. Just take a look at whoâÄôs supposedly teaching them business ethics.